Rock churches and places of cultural interest

San Nicola dei Greci

imageThe church of San Nicola Dei Greci is part of a cave complex which also includes the church of the Madonna Delle Virtù. It is a monastic settlement dating back to the 10th century and stands in Via Madonna Delle Virtù between the Sasso Caveoso and the Sasso Barisano.

Thanks to a meticulous restoration work it is possible to admire: in the right aisle a Crucifixion dating back to the ’300 and in the left aisle a triptych representing S.Barbara, S. Nicola and S. Pantaleone. Since 1987, the rock complex hosts every year, from June to October, "The Great Exhibitions" in the Sassi dedicated to the greatest contemporary sculptors.

San Pietro Caveoso

imageIt is a building that dates back to the ’300s even if, after innumerable restorations and modifications, very little remains of the original structure, in fact the current church was built in the’ 600 and rebuilt in the ’700.

It has a quadrangular shape and some of the four side chapels have frescoes. The ceiling of the central nave is made of wood and on the main altar it is possible to admire a wooden polyptych representing the Madonna between Saint Peter and Paul, the Last Supper and the Father God.

San Giuliano

imageLa chiesa rupestre di San Giuliano si trova nell’ex Monastero di Sant’Agostino. A causa delle continue modifiche è difficile riuscire a datare con precisione il nucleo originario della chiesa, pare comunque che risalga al XV° secolo.

Due lati della chiesa sono completamente affrescati e sull’altare si trova un affresco del ‘600 della SS. Trinità. La N.D. spagnola Felicia Caravascial nel 1603 commissionò l’affresco di una Madonna col Bambino, che si può osservare sulla parete a sinistra.

Cripta del Peccato Originale

imageOverlooking the Gravina, on the road to Lake San Giuliano, there is this church also known as the "Cento Santi Cave". It contains a series of frescoes, perhaps the most important of the 10th century: scenes from Genesis, Madonna and Child, female figures and apostles.


imageThe Cathedral, dedicated to the Madonna della Bruna protector of Matera, was erected between 1230 and 1270. The facade has a Romanesque rose window, with sixteen spokes, symbol of the wheel of life. The interior has three naves and in the left one there is one of the many frescoes that covered the walls of the Cathedral that of the Madonna della Bruna dating back to the twelfth century.

An important work of popular art is present, a nativity scene in Altobello Persio stone. On the altar of the Baptistery, a frescoed wall was recently discovered, representing infernal scenes above and below San Giuliano, San Luca and the Madonna and Child.

Casa Cava

imageOriginally the Casa Cava was used, between 1400 and 1600, as a pit quarry for the extraction of limestone blocks (commonly called tuff). The entrance was from above and precisely between via San Biagio and via Santa Cesarea. Once the availability of material was exhausted, the quarry was abandoned and used as a landfill and therefore filled with waste material.

At the end of the 90s this "landfill" was cleaned up and restoration work began discovering that calcarenite, a friable and porous material, made the walls sound-absorbent. In this environment, in the shape of an inverted funnel, thanks to the lack of echo, the necessary conditions have been created for holding concerts. Currently Casa Cava is a cultural center that hosts conferences, conventions, concerts and theatrical performances.